Madison County- Duck Creek Township

As of 2021, I count two remaining schoolhouses in Duck Creek Township.

District 1: Waymire
District 3: Reeder

Historic Overview

Duck Creek Township’s first schoolhouse was a round-log structure built on the farm of a Mrs. Knott in 1841. After a few years, it was moved to the site of the latter-day District 2 schoolhouse (Kingman, 1880). In 1853, a second schoolhouse -this time of the hewed-log variety- was built on the farm of Isaac Went near the site of the latter-day District 1 school (Forkner, 1914).

Early schools like this were simply built, generally measuring no larger than twenty by twenty feet. Walls of notched logs slathered with mud or clay rose above simple, puncheon floors to an eight foot, peaked roof covered in shake shingles. A wide fireplace that terminated in a chimney made of mud held together by a simple framework of sticks was frequently located across the wall opposite the school’s entryway, while narrow “windows” made by cutting out a length of log five or six feet up each flanking wall provided natural illumination to the interior of the structure (Kemper, 1908).

Early schools were so simple largely due to a lack of money. As first established, each schoolhouse was funded predominantly by subscription, a sort of tuition paid to the school’s proprietor that also covered a salary for the teacher (Helm, 1881).

The era of subscription schoolhouses ended in 1851, when the state of Indiana ratified a new constitution that provided for the basics of a township-based, common educational system (Natali, 2007). The School Law of 1852 expanded upon the new constitution, authorizing a schoolhouse fund and an official statewide Superintendent of Public Instruction, as well as a “general and uniform system of common schools, wherein tuition shall be with out charge, and equally open to all (Indiana, 1851).” Once funds were disbursed, officials around Richland Township began converting the existing log schools into frame ones in 1854 (Kingman), simultaneously improving courses of study, hiring teachers that were more qualified, and erecting new buildings when money was available. By 1874, the township’s schoolhouses were valued at $2,500 (Harden, 1874).

By 1880, the district school acquired colloquial names. They included Waymire (District 1), College Corner, Minnick, Dickey (District 5), Leisure (District 6), Reeder (District 3), and Fleming. That year, the six schools in Duck Creek Township were valued at $3,000 (Kingman).

In 1912 Duck Creek Township was home to seven schools- five of which were brick, while two were frame. Their overall value was $14,000 (Forkner). Beginning in 1926, the schoolhouses hadn’t been used for two years as area students were sent to class at Elwood. In 1928, all of Duck Creek Township’s schools were reopened after a lengthy remodel (September, 1928).

Unlike what occurred in Delaware County, the township schools of Madison County didn’t close at the behest of a progressive superintendent. Here, the gradual closure of the one-room schools made more sense, and by 1949, only three schools still existed in Duck Creek Township- Leisure, Reeder, and College Corner. Students from across the township were all bussed to Reeder, where first- and second-graders stayed for classes. Third, fourth, and fifth-grade students went on to Leisure, while seventh and eighth-graders were sent to College Corner (Leisure, 1976). The Reeder school closed after the 1949 school year (Three, 1952).

Later that year, Duck Creek and Boone Townships combined to build a $150,000 grade school with six classrooms, a gymnasium/auditorium, and cafeteria that replaced the Leisure and College Corner schoolhouses in Duck Creek Township (New, 1949). 

The Duck Creek-Boone Township Grade School opened in 1951. After students graduated, they went to Summitville to complete their high school courses. In 1960, a stage was added to the gymnasium along with a cafeteria, offices, and two classrooms. 

The 1951 Duck Creek-Boone Township Consolidated Grade School. Photo taken August 14, 2021. From the author’s collection.

In 1959, Indiana’s State Commission for the Reorganization of School Corporations passed new guidelines for school districts specifying that, at a minimum, each must have a resident school population of at least 1,000 students in terms of average daily attendance, as well as an adjusted assessed valuation of at least $5,000 per pupil in average daily attendance (Delaware, 1959). As a result, Van Buren, Boone, and most of Duck Creek Townships in Madison County combined with Fairmount, Liberty, and Green Townships to form the Metropolitan School District of Madison-Grant Counties, today known as Madison-Grant United School Corporation.

By 1991, the school enrolled only 76 students in grades 1-6 (Hoffman, 1991). It closed that year, and its students were sent to Summitville. 

The Leisure school was purchased by Butcher Manufacturing Company, a maker of mineral feeds for poultry and livestock, in 1952. The company added 23,000 square feet to the structure, more than doubling it (Butcher, 1952). Today, the building is demolished, are the remainder of Duck Creek Township’s schools aside from Reeder and the old Waymire School. These days, both serve as homes. 


Kemper, G. W. H. (1908). Education in Delaware County. In A Twentieth Century History of Delaware County, Indiana, Volume 1 (Vol. 1, p. 252). book, Lewis Publishing Company.

Forkner, J. (1914). History of Madison County Indiana. A Narrative Account of Its Historical Progress, Its People and Its Principal Interests, Volume 1. book, The Lewis Publishing Company. Chicago, IL.

Kemper, G. W. H. (1908). Education in Delaware County. In A Twentieth Century History of Delaware County, Indiana, Volume 1 (Vol. 1, p. 252). book, Lewis Publishing Company.

Helm, T. B. (1881). Mount Pleasant Township. In History of Delaware County, Indiana: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers (pp. 268–269). book, Kingman Brothers.

Natali, B. L. (2007). The Impact of Caleb Mills on the Hoosier Education Debate: An Edition of Two Unpublished Addresses (thesis). University Graduate School, Indianapolis.

Indiana Constitution. (1851), art. 8, sec. 1.

Harden, S. (1874). History of Madison County, Indiana, from 1820 to 1874. book. Markleville, IN.

September 3rd Opening Day in Rural Schools (1928, July 7). The Alexandria Times-Tribune. p. 1.

Leisure organized around saw mill. (1976, July 3). The Elwood Call-Leader. p. C-12.

Three Schools In Duck Creek Township To Be Sold April 26 (1952, April 3). The Elwood Call-Leader. p. 1.

New School For Duck Creek And Boone Townships. (1949, September 7). The Elwood Call-Leader. p. 1.

Delaware County Committee for the Reorganization of School Corporations. (1959). A Comprehensive plan for the reorganization of school corporations of Delaware County Indiana. Muncie, IN; Delaware County Committee for the Reorganization of School Corporations.

Hoffman, F. (1991, May 1) Little school on the prairie closes doors for last time. The Elwood Call-Leader. p. 1.

Butcher Mfg. Co. To Move Soon To Old Leisure School (1952, October 11). The Elwood Call-Leader. p. 5.